Hot Pot Etiquette: the Popular way of Eating in Eastern Asia
Sharing is caring, that is the essence of what it means to have Hot Pot, a highly popular way of eating in Eastern Asia. The reason for its popularity is that it’s eating in a casual, social and sharing session where friends and family get together around a table of deliciously made broth simmered over a fire at the table, or in most cases an induction stove.
A variety of foodstuffs and ingredients are laid out on the table and anyone is allowed to take an ingredient with their chopsticks whilst chit chatting, before scooping it up onto their plate, dipped in their choice of sauce, and eating it.
The best part about Hot Pot is that you get to engage with your social setting whilst cooking your own food, ever so simply. It is the act of boiling your own food, getting to see it cooked and sharing it amongst those at your table. It provides that sense of sharing, and in turn that sharing somehow leads to the act of caring and providing comfort to your diners. It becomes a great activity to do with friends as opposed to the conventional dining out, where you wait for food to be served to you.
In London, Chinatown has opened its area to a Hot Pot restaurant dedicated to the enjoyment of this way of eating. The restaurant, suitably named ‘Hot Pot Restaurant’ is located on Wardour Street and offers an extensive menu of foods you can have for your hot pot, including an array of meats like the Japanese Wagyu Beef Platter and Sliced Kurobuta as well as seafood and fish. To top that off, they also offer tantalizing appetizers such as the Crispy soft shell crab, Japanese gyoza, and Homemade aromatic duck.
The way to enjoy their Hot Pot is to first, choose from their seven broths which have been boiled for lengthy hours of time. The reason for this is so that it extracts the essence of the ingredients so that the broth becomes concentrated and nourishing. There is Tom Yum Goong, Mala Fiery, HP’s Herbal Drunken Chicken, Vitamin C Sweet Tomato (their popular one), Beauty Rich Collagen (brewed for 8 hours and contains pork bones, pork skin and black chicken carcass), Longevity Mushroom and Nourishing Thai Coconut Green Curry broths. We went for the Drunken Chicken Broth, a nourishing and tasty soup for a cold, windy day.
Once your broth is served, you can pick from any of the restaurants 60 dishes – we opted for salmon, scallops, Wagyu Beef, Marinated Beef, Marinated Pork, Japanese Tofu, Enoki Mushrooms, and from their a la carte, we tried out their Roasted Duck/Barbecue Pork platter and a Shrimp Pad Thai. The roasted duck and barbecue pork did not please us as it was rather dry, and because of this, we recommend sticking to their hot pot menu. The Pad Thai, however, did prove to be delicious. The menu also offers dim sum, but we feel that for a Hot Pot restaurant specializing in Hot Pot, there is no need to order dim sum.
Within the restaurant, there is also a bar dedicated to sauces where you can create your own mix for dipping your hot pot ingredients into.
Overall, we recommend the Hot Pot Restaurant for the experience and social gathering. The restaurant stresses on enjoyment and therefore has no limit on table times and group bookings. It is about leisurely eating in a fun atmosphere.
Visit Hot Pot Restaurant in Chinatown